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#TBT – That Time My Horse Jumped Out of the Arena

Like many riders, I have numerous favorite horse show memories, but there is one that stands out clearly as both the most humorous and the most memorable.

It was August 1996, and my horse Riker and I were competing in a horse trial at our barn. Riker is a gray Appendix Quarter horse with one of the biggest personalities of any horse I have ever met. He has always been a clown, and full of surprises. On this particular day though, I had no idea what was in store for me.

In a horse trial (which is what eventers call a one-day event) there are three phases: dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping. Riker and I had completed our dressage and cross country successfully, and were finishing out the day with stadium.

It all started off pretty smoothly, with the course going well and Riker easily clearing the jumps. But that all changed as we approached the final jumps, an in-and-out combination consisting of two fences. Riker started veering to the left, while I was very determined to get over these final jumps. The end result of this standoff was that while he jumped, he was so far over to the left that my foot hit the jump standard, pulling the entire thing down behind us.

rikerarena gate
This of course made Riker furious, which resulted in some bucking, crow-hopping, and general naughtiness. As I struggled to regain control (and stay on), I hardly even noticed we were heading for the arena gate. And since he was slowing down rapidly, I figured he would simply stop and we could regroup. Instead, Riker made a last minute decision and leapt over the 5’ metal gate without a second thought. By some sheer miracle I managed to stay on!

My mom, ever the professional videographer and photographer, captured the whole thing on camera, so luckily I’m able to enjoy this memory even many years later. My favorite part by far though, is that once on the other side of the gate, he simply stopped, and casually walked over to the people standing nearby. Of course my trainer then made me go back in the ring and repeat that part again!

What’s your favorite horse show memory? Share in the comments below!

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2 comments on “#TBT – That Time My Horse Jumped Out of the Arena
  1. Jannevieve says:

    my horse did the same thing i came back from the last barrel i ride english and she jumped the gate

  2. Tessa Simmons says:

    I remember when I had a buckle fracture in my wrist (but of course didn’t tell my mom how much it hurt!) And I had a show that weekend so it was windy and the horse was a spooker so we went in a jump class and on one of the jumps I lost my balance and fell off (cause I was using my fractured hand) and when I was walking out of the ring the boy behind me said to his trainer “I know why she fell off she lost her balance and blah,blah,blah,blah” and then the boys trainer looked at me sideways and mouthed “sorry”.

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